Wednesday, May 7, 2014

High School Gymnastics: Central Boys Take 3rd at State Meet

As the school year comes to a rapid conclusion, the state tournaments and meets for spring sports are also getting into full swing. First up, the state gymnastics meet. Sports reporter Charles Bryce and I headed down to Alvin, near Houston, a week ago to cover the Central High School boys and girls teams as they vie for a championship title.

The meet is a two-day event, the first day comprising of compulsory routines in which every gymnast performs the same routine for the judges on every event. The compulsory routines can get a bit tedious to cover as every routine is the exact same, but it's an easy way to gauge which teams will be competing for a championship on the second day of the meet.

The boys' meet consists of six apparatuses (high bar, pommel horse, vault, floor exercise, rings and parallel bars) and can get a bit raucous after each gymnast performs their routine. The boys seem to wear their emotions on their sleeve which can make for some great emotional photographs. Some of the highlights from the first day of competition for the Central boys came from their pommel horse routines. Normally, the Bobcats struggle on pommel, but with the routines by Joshua Coleman and Donald Nguyen, each scoring a 9.75, helped to keep Central in the top three in the team standings at the end of the day.

The big news of the day happened when Central's Michael Opincar scored a 9.9 on the vault to put him in prime contention for a state title on the event. Central finished the first day of competition in third place with a combined score of 171.75 behind leaders Bryan Rudder High School (174.60) and defending state champs Saginaw High School (172.45).

The second day of the meet for the boys was a lot like the first: loud, intense and with another fantastic vault by Michael Opincar. "I wasn't really hitting it during warmups and I'd been thinking about it since I got the 9.9 on Thursday," Opincar said. He had earned a perfect 10 earlier in the season at the District 3-5A meet and getting another one on the final day at state would be the highlight of the junior's season. And wouldn't you know it, he did it again.

The team went ballistic.

It was a great meet for the boys. Opincar earned the gold medal on the vault, Will Arrott finished in the top 10 in the all-around competition and the team finished with another third place trophy edging out Rockwall High School by 0.35 of a point. Central has a young team and hopes to come back next year even stronger. "We weren't even expected to place, so we really came back and showed them we were serious," said Joshua Coleman, who's pommel horse routine helped keep Central in third in the team standings. "I hit what I needed to hit to help our team out," he said, "and we came around and got third."